Make Your Child Brilliant

Education guru Bernadette Tynan continues to put her unique brand of brain training to good use in helping children whose talents are going unnoticed. In the final instalment of the series, she visits a school in Manchester where she encounters Jamie, a curious, open-minded boy, and Aisha, a nine-year-old with a passion for culture and travel.

Bernadette Tynan has spent more than 15 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing brain-training techniques to unlock children’s talents. She is convinced that the current “exam-crazed” education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids. In this series she sets out on a journey across the country to put her methods to use.

This week, Bernadette is in Manchester to assess the potential of a group of eight to 11-year-olds –children at a critical stage in their development. She divides the children into teams and sets them a number of tasks designed to see which children might have hidden talents. “It’s not just fun,” she explains. “It gives me a window into how a child thinks and learns.”

After speaking at length to the schoolteachers, Bernadette selects a shortlist of five children to undergo further tests. Among the five are Jamie, an enigmatic child who is keen to try everything and keeps his mind completely open; and Aisha, a nine-year-old who has a passion for culture and travel but tends to hold herself back at school. In order to decide who would benefit most from her brain training, Bernadette takes the children away from the classroom environment and sets them physical, problem-solving, creativity and logic tests. “I’m interested in how the children think, not what they know,” she says. After a further challenge designed to see how two of the children interact with their families, Bernadette selects the child she will take on a brain-training journey.

Over the next few months, Bernadette guides her chosen subject through an intensive programme covering such elements as learning foreign languages, stimulating neural pathways and developing good posture and clear speech. When the journey is over, will the child manage to bring it all together in time to face the final challenge?

make your child brilliant (5/6)

Education guru Bernadette Tynan continues to put her unique brand of brain training to good use in helping children whose talents are going unnoticed. Tonight, she visits St Clement and St James primary school in west London in search of a child who could benefit from her techniques. After selecting a shortlist of five talented kids, Bernadette decides to work with Aaliyah –a deep thinker who seems reluctant to share her ideas.

Bernadette Tynan has spent more than 15 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing brain-training techniques to unlock children’s talents. She is convinced that the current “examcrazed” education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids. In this series she sets out on a journey across the country to put her methods to use.

This week, Bernadette is in London to assess the potential of a group of eight to 11-year-olds – children at a critical stage in their development. She divides the children into teams and sets them the task of building a cardboard house and solving a word puzzle. “It’s not just fun,” she explains. “It gives me a window into how a child thinks and learns.” During the task, Bernadette spots a range of different skills, including verbal, creative, divergent and kinaesthetic thinking. After speaking to the school teachers, she selects five children to undergo further tests: Tommy, an energetic, cheeky lad; Luke, a talented writer; Abby, a quiet leader; Cairo, an imaginitive girl; and Aaliyah, a deep thinker.

In the Surrey countryside, far away from the classroom environment, Bernadette sets her chosen five a physical, problem-solving trial involving ropes and hooks. “I’m interested in how the children think, not what they know,” she says. After a creativity challenge and a further test to see how two of the children interact with their families, Bernadette selects Aaliyah as the child she will take on a brain-training journey. While Aaliyah clearly has talents, including a particular aptitude for drawing, she has difficulty communicating her ideas. In order to deal with this problem, Bernadette sets Aaliyah a special challenge that will harness her artistic ability and tackle her reticence –in just two months, she will present her own version of a famous painting to an audience at the National Gallery.

Getting straight to work at a London art gallery, Bernadette tells her charge to visualise the presentation of her work at the end of the two months in order to obtain a mental image of success. “Once the mind has that picture, it will never be erased,” she explains. “She can now start working towards the goal.”

Next, Bernadette sets about giving Aaliyah the correct tools for the task in hand, beginning with her home environment. The two prepare a dedicated work space designed to put Aaliyah’s mind in the right state for learning. They adorn the new desk with mental triggers, which can be anything from personal objects to items of clothing, then complete the scene with a photograph taken at the gallery. Then it is off to the library to choose and research the painting to be interpreted. “The key to good learning is ownership,” says Bernadette, as she encourages her charge to use colours and symbols when making notes. Visual images will create dense pathways of connectivity in the brain, helping Aaliyah to remember facts on a deeper level.

Aaliyah is keen to begin work on her own version of her chosen painting –Renoir’s ‘The Skiff’. But Bernadette first needs to train her to articulate her ideas, so employs a technique that relates speech to dance moves. “Words, action and music encourage cross-brain thinking,” she says.

After a visit to a professional artist, Aaliyah begins work on her own Renoir interpretation and the painting soon takes shape. More importantly, her new skills are having a positive effect on her school work. “She is definitely more communicative than she used to be,” reports her class teacher. However, with just two days to go before her big presentation, Aaliyah will have to bring together everything she has learned in order to succeed.

make your child brilliant (4/6)

Education guru Bernadette Tynan continues to put her unique brand of brain training to good use in helping children whose talents are going unnoticed. Tonight, she visits Middleton primary school in Nottingham in search of a child who could benefit from her techniques. After selecting a shortlist of five talented kids, Bernadette decides to work with Molly –an inquisitive girl who struggles to retain information.

Bernadette Tynan has spent more than 15 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing brain-training techniques to unlock children’s talents. She is convinced that the current “examcrazed” education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids. In this series she sets out on a journey across the country to put her methods to use.

This week, Bernadette is in Nottingham to assess the potential of a group of eight to 11-yearolds –children at a critical stage in their education. The first task she sets the children is to dress their teachers as historical figures using a range of materials. “This isn’t just a game of dress-up,” she explains. “It shows me how a child’s brain works.” During the task, some pupils show creative flair, while others display good leadership skills.

Once the task is complete, Bernadette speaks to the teachers and comes up with a shortlist of five children: Liam is a motivator; Peter a hands-on constructor; John enjoys experimentation; Salahudeen is a quiet mathematician; and Molly is full of curiosity. She then takes her chosen five away from traditional tests and textbooks to partake in a series of challenges that will reveal more about their hidden gifts. In the unfamiliar environment of the Peak District, the children are given creativity and logic tests before being taken out into the countryside and set the task of building a shelter together.

Having decided that either Molly or Peter will benefit most from her training, Bernadette turns to the children’s parents to learn about the support they receive at home. “The right parental support is vital if a child is going to succeed,” she explains. In Lincoln, the children and their mothers are set the task of finding a tour guide somewhere in the city centre. Molly immediately takes charge and heads off in the right direction, but relies heavily on the notes she has taken; while Peter allows his mum to take notes then uses his memory to lead the way. The task is very revealing and leads Bernadette to select Molly as the child who will undergo brain training. “The reason I’ve picked Molly… is that her curious mind needs lots of support as she goes into secondary school,” she says.

Molly is clearly a bright girl, but struggles to order her thoughts and often cannot remember important information. Bernadette intends to address both of these issues while helping Molly develop her “wonderful curiosity”. To this end, she sets Molly the challenge of delivering a scientific demonstration about marine evolution to a large audience at an aquarium.

The first step of Bernadette’s training programme is to give Molly a visual image of success. Once Molly can see the end point, Bernadette then sets about providing her with the tools necessary to reach her goal, the most important of which is a good memory. Bernadette teaches her charge a memory technique using a personalised story to recall random facts without the aid of notes. Once Molly has mastered this technique, she heads to the aquarium to get some hands-on experience of marine wildlife. Here, Bernadette encourages her to reason for herself, before introducing her to a method of linking facts together using coloured string and a large net.

After two months of training, there is a real change in Molly, both at home and at school. “She’s becoming a lot more independent with her learning,” says her class teacher. However, with only 48 hours until her big presentation, Molly must bring to mind everything she has learned in order to succeed. “To pull it off now,” says Bernadette, “all she needs is confidence in her ability.”

make your child brilliant (3/6)

Education guru Bernadette Tynan continues her mission to apply her unique brand of brain training to gifted children. Tonight, she visits a school in Liverpool in search of seemingly ordinary children whose abilities are being ignored. After selecting a shortlist of five talented kids, Bernadette decides to work with Sophie, a girl with strong leadership skills who sometimes lacks confidence.

Bernadette Tynan has spent more than 15 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing brain-training techniques to unlock children’s talents. She is convinced that the current “exam-crazed” education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids. In this series she sets out on a journey across the country to put her methods to use.

This week, Bernadette is at a school in Liverpool to assess the potential of a group of eight to 11year-olds. “In my book, there is no average Joe, there’s only hidden talent,” she says confidently. “Once I’ve spotted it, I can start developing it.” Bernadette’s first task is to get the children to guess the weight of three of their teachers using a pile of fruit, some scales and a wheelbarrow.

Bernadette then observes the children in class and talks to their teachers, before choosing five kids who she thinks demonstrate sparks of brilliance. They include Darrion, a quiet bookworm; chatterbox Harris; and high-level thinker James. There is also Sophie, who shows clear leadership skills, and Niloo, an academic allrounder who struggles at sport.

Bernadette takes the five children to an activity centre in the Lake District where she presents them with a series of challenges designed to test their creativity, code-breaking skills and teamwork. By the end of the trip she has decided on the two children she wants to observe further: Sophie and Niloo.

To get an idea of the parental support the two children enjoy, Bernadette sets both families the challenge of putting up a tent on the beach. Niloo and her parents enter into the activity enthusiastically, while Sophie’s parents express their dismay at the task. Their lack of confidence soon affects Sophie. “There is a message here being passed from parent to child: ‘this is complicated’,” Bernadette says. “That’s not a good thing to do, because children don’t know something’s complicated until somebody tells them that it is.”

Bernadette decides that Sophie could benefit the most from her training, so she sets her the ambitious task of writing, directing and staging a play in a real theatre. She believes the challenge will show off Sophie’s talents whilst giving her the opportunity to build her confidence and improve her mathematical skills. But Sophie’s parents have concerns about the size of the job. “It seems too big a task for a girl of nine,” her dad says.

Bernadette puts her techniques to use by teaching Sophie to visualise the final performance in her mind. “If they programme their mind to actually see themselves achieving the goal, they will achieve the goal,” she explains. She encourages Sophie to do physical exercise to sharpen her focus before writing her script, and helps her find ways to solve maths puzzles.

Bernadette also senses that mum Sarah is projecting her own fears and negativity onto Sophie, with adverse effects. She forces Sarah to reassess what is achievable by sending her up in a small plane and letting her take over the controls mid-flight. Sarah’s aerial adventure gives her and her daughter a renewed sense of confidence. However, when Sophie runs into further problems with her play, Bernadette is left wondering whether she has overestimated the abilities of this little girl. Will it be alright on the night?

make your child brilliant (2/6)

Education guru Bernadette Tynan continues her quest to apply her unique brand of brain training to gifted children. Tonight, she visits a school in Brighton in search of seemingly ordinary children whose abilities are being ignored. After selecting a shortlist of five talented kids, Bernadette elects to work with Connor, a creative boy with a short attention span.

Bernadette Tynan has spent more than 15 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing brain-training techniques to unlock children’s talents. She is convinced that the current “exam-crazed” education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids. In this series she sets out on a journey across the country to put her methods to use.

This week, Bernadette is at a primary school in Brighton to assess the potential of a group of eight to 11-year-olds. “At this age their brains are like sponges, equipped to soak up new ideas,” she says. Her first experiment involves splitting the children into one group of market traders and another group of buyers. The traders are charged with selling various props to their classmates.

Bernadette is impressed by some of the creative skills on display, and after talking with the teachers and observing the pupils in class, she selects five kids who are ripe for further development. The first of the five is Anisha, a chatterbox with an obvious flair for communication. There is also Lebohang, a keen sportsman; quick-witted Emily; creative thinker Connor; and James, who boasts strong leadership skills.

Bernadette takes the five children to an activity centre to see how they deal with situations in unfamiliar environments. She presents them with new challenges that test their creativity, codebreaking skills and teamwork, and by the end of the day has decided on the two children she wants to observe further: Connor and James. Connor is blessed with a rich imagination but suffers from a lack of focus. “Connor lives half in this world and half in another one,” says his mum, Cindy. James, meanwhile, is extremely analytical and has a strong character – but Bernadette wants to know how his parents cope with his abilities.

The next challenge is to see how the two boys interact with their parents, so she sets them the task of loading items into a camper van. James and his dad perform the task in a linear, methodical way, while Connor and Cindy adopt a less efficient but more creative approach. Finally, Bernadette decides that Connor is the boy who can benefit most from her training. “Connor is a visionary,” she says. “Visionaries have this great gift to be able to create designs on paper… but the difficult bit is making things happen.” Bernadette sets 11-year-old Connor the huge challenge of staging a fashion show where his fellow pupils will model his T-shirt designs.

To help Connor stage the show, Bernadette teaches him a technique to help him overcome his usual distractions, such as television and computer games. At first, Connor displays his usual wandering attention, but a day out in the countryside gives him a much-needed change of perspective. Bernadette is concerned that Cindy is giving him too much help, so she sets him the challenge of cooking his mum a three-course meal. This activity shows Connor that he is capable of standing on his own two feet, and proves to be a great brain-training exercise, as it is fun, multi-sensory and yields immediate results.

With the day of the fashion show fast approaching, Bernadette still thinks that Cindy is exercising too much control over the project. The pair clash over her role in show, as Bernadette urges her to take a back seat. Will Cindy be able to follow her advice? And can Connor overcome last-minute nerves to make his show a success?

make your child brilliant
leeds (1/6)

In this brand new series, education guru Bernadette Tynan puts into practice her unique brand of brain-training by going into schools up and down the country and identifying seemingly ordinary children whose gifts are being ignored. In this first programme, she visits Rothwell Primary School in Leeds.

Bernadette Tynan has spent more than 15 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing a range of brain-training techniques guaranteed to bring out the best in any child. She has helped thousands of children unlock special gifts and talents, but she is convinced that the current “exam-crazed” education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids.

“Everybody’s got something,” says Bernadette. “It’s just a matter of discovering it and developing it. And that’s what I’m here to do.” As she embarks on her first experiment at Rothwell Primary School, she sets the children a go-kart building challenge, during which she quickly realises that there are plenty of possible candidates for her training. Some display leadership skills, others an aptitude for mechanics, and some are good problemsolvers and entrepreneurs.

After talking to teachers, reading reports and watching the children in their classes, Bernadette selects the five children who she wants to observe more closely before ultimately picking one to receive her intensive brain-training. The first of the five is Ben, nine, who has an unusual talent for gardening – something that is not on the National Curriculum so might be missed at school. Taunie, aged ten, is very bright but holds back in class. Nine-year-old Adam displays impressive mechanical aptitude; ten-year-old Nicholas is inventive and innovative; and Daniel, also ten, has many gifts but often puts others first, which can overshadow his own strengths.

Bernadette takes the five children to an activity centre to see how they deal with new situations in unfamiliar environments. She presents them with new challenges that test their creativity, codebreaking skills and teamwork, and by the end of the day has decided on the the two children she wants to observe further: Nicholas and Ben.

The next challenge is to see how the two boys interact with their parents, so she sets them the task of piloting a barge through a lock. Bernadette watches to see how each family communicates under pressure, and notices that while both sets of parents bring the boys into the task like adults, Ben’s family work calmly together, while Nicholas’s seems to suffer from a case of “too many cooks”.

Ultimately, Bernadette decides that Nicholas is the boy she wants to take on for one-to-one brain-training. She has noticed that he has important gifts, like business acumen and innovative thinking, but ignores details like spelling and organised storytelling. Bernadette believes that her guidance will help him get the best out of both school and his gifts.

Bernadette sets Nicholas the task of designing a new toy, building a prototype and preparing a sales pitch for some industry heavyweights. If he is to achieve this, Nicholas is going to have to learn that rules and structure are important, and that he needs to get his written work up to scratch. Bernadette begins by utilising a visualisation technique favoured by athletes like Tiger Woods. “You’re going to achieve great things,” she tells him in the boardroom. “And you’re going to do it right here, in this room, at this table.” She also identifies that Nicholas is a kinesthetic learner – someone who learns best through ‘doing’ rather than working on paper – and comes up with ways of improving his spelling by combining it with things he loves, like swimming.

With Bernadette’s help, can Nicholas come up with a killer concept, create a prototype and organise his thoughts into a coherent presentation for the toy company? It is a huge challenge for a ten-year-old boy – but Bernadette is convinced that her brain-training will get the best out of her student.

make your child brilliant

Bernadette Tynan has spent 20 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing a range of brain-training techniques guaranteed to bring out the best in any child. She has helped thousands of children unlock special gifts and talents, but she is convinced that the current exam-crazed education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids.

In this brand new series, Bernadette makes it her mission to show how her unique brand of braintraining works by going into schools up and down the country and identifying seemingly ordinary children whose gifts are being ignored.

The series begins at a school in Leeds where Bernadette attempts to identify children she can make brilliant. “What I’m looking for,” she explains, “is children with abilities that could easily slip through the net.” These could be students from any ability level. “In my book there is no ‘average Joe’ –only hidden talent,” says Bernadette.

After three days spent observing the pupils and speaking to the teachers, Bernadette has selected a shortlist of five pupils to undergo further tests. Among these children are what Bernadette sees as a keen gardener and a highlevel thinker. One of these students will be given the opportunity to undergo the brain-training course. In order to select the most appropriate child, she takes them to the Lake District for a series of fun challenges designed to put their thinking abilities to the test. Once this is over, the real challenge can begin.

Five has commissioned Make Your Child Brilliant, a new factual entertainment series, it was announced. The six-part series, produced by Electric Sky Productions will be presented by Bernadette Tynan, an international expert in gifted children.

In this groundbreaking and informative series, Bernadette will travel nationwide and visit a different British school each week. Looking beyond exam results, Bernadette will select children whose gifts and abilities can slip under the radar in today’s education system – in some cases, children can have a gift that lies beyond the school gates.

Using brain-training techniques, Bernadette will teach children to have confidence in themselves and their gifts, encouraging them to achieve a spectacular task, much to the amazement of friends and family.

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes and Bernadette will reveal what parents should look out for with their children. For example, the class chatterbox may be fast-thinking with fantastic language ability, the class busy body may have a brilliantly curious mind and the class bossy boots may be a great natural leader.

From novel ways of teaching spelling to trampolining to give the body and brain a workout, Bernadette will share the secrets of her brain-training techniques and will demonstrate how to identify and unlock hidden gifts. With information on taking the fear out of tests and top tips on how to work with your child’s school, Make Your Child Brilliant is an indispensable guide for parents.

Bernadette Tynan, said: “The ideas, innovation and creativity of our children are Britain’s future. In an exam-crazed system, not every child’s gifts can be captured on pen and paper tests. Every child deserves an opportunity to be brilliant.”

Fives Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment and Features, Robi Dutta, said: “We are thrilled to have this innovative series on Five. Make Your Child Brilliant will provide fresh hope and insight for families and their children and will provoke a much needed debate in education.”

Electric Sky Productions Creative Director, Benita Matofska said: “Make Your Child Brilliant is a truly groundbreaking new format, which is kinder, aspirational and dare I say it, optimistic.”

A book will accompany the series. Make Your Child Brilliant by Bernadette Tynan, published by Quadrille, January 2008, priced 14.99.

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